Coconut Water: Help or Hype?

Coconut Water: Help or Hype?
by Johnathan Zamora

Coconut is highly nutritious. Rich in fiber, vitamins and minerals, it’s classified as a functional food because it provides many health benefits beyond its nutritional content. High in potassium, coconut water is the current “it” drink of the food world. There are many celebrities endorsing this beverage, but just how good is coconut water? Read on to learn more.

Coconut water is the water found inside a coconut, not to be confused with coconut milk – which is a mixture of coconut water and fresh shaved coconut. Instead, think of coconut water as a type of juice, but generally lower in calories.  It’s also good to note that coconut water has more potassium, sodium, magnesium and calcium than most other juices.

The food industry and recent publicity has coconut water being the “next big thing” in terms of re-hydrating your body. Celebrity endorsements aside, the nutritional profile of coconut water is impressive, given that the good stuff is 100% natural. For re-hydrating purposes, how does coconut water compare to a sports drink?

Let’s break down an 8-oz. serving of coconut water:

Calories: 40
Electrolytes:
– Sodium: 40mg
– Potassium: 600mg (2x as much as a banana)
– Manganese: 60mg (involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism)
– Phosphorus: 45mg

Carbohydrates: 8g
– Fiber: 2.5g
– Sugars: 5.5g

Compare to an 8-oz. serving of a popular “sports drink”

Calories: 50

Electrolytes:

– Sodium: 110mg

– Potassium: 30mg

– Chloride: 93mg

Carbohydrates: 14g
– Fiber: 0
– Sugar: 14g

With less sodium and far more potassium, coconut water clearly has more “substance” in terms of electrolytes and other minerals; however at around $2 – $3 per bottle, coconut water can get expensive if you’re consuming it every day.  Another point to remember is that if your workouts last less than one hour, plain water rehydrates perfectly fine.  If you’re looking to try coconut water, bear in mind that 8 oz. contains about 40 calories, so it’s not a calorie-free beverage.  Here is a quick and easy smoothie drink that can be enjoyed anytime.

Watermelon – Coconut Smoothie

Yield: 1 serving

Ingredients:

2 cups watermelon, seedless and chopped
1 cup coconut water
1 cup ice
1 Tbs. mint, chopped, optional

Method of Preparation:

1. In a blender, combine all ingredients and liquefy until a smooth consistency is reached.

Nutritional Information: 
Per Serving

114 Calories; 0g Protein; 32g Carbohydrates, 4g Fiber; 1g Protein

Johnathan Zamora
The Fit Chef

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